devos from the hill


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Christ Our Model

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from D.L. Moody

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith… Hebrews 12:2a

Is it really possible to be like Christ? The trouble with most people is that their lives are not formed according to any plan. They are not striving to resemble any model. They have no definite aim and purpose.

Check out this brief message from evangelist, D.L. Moody for more insight… http://www.wholesomewords.org/etexts/moody/ourmodel.html


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Active and Passive

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
Read the Scripture: John 15:4-11

Do you ever struggle with the balance between “being” and “doing” – between God’s part and your part? If so, then you might find this short devotional helpful…

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me (John 15:4).

Notice that our Lord divides this passage into two sections. There is an activity that is to be done, and a passivity that is to be acknowledged. We are to remain in Him (that is active, something we do), and we are to let Him remain in us (that is passive, something we allow Him to do). Both these relationships are essential, not one as opposed to the other, but both together.

When our Lord says Remain in me, He is talking about the will, and the decisions we make. We must decide to do things that keep ourselves in contact with Him. The Holy Spirit has placed us into Christ. Now we must maintain that relationship by the decisions we make, such as exposing ourselves to His Word and having a prayer relationship with Him. We remain in Him when we bear one another’s burdens and confess our faults and share in fellowship with one another. All of this is designed to relate to Him: Remain in me. If we do that, we are fulfilling this active, necessary decision of the will to obey His Word.

This is what Bible study and prayer are all about. They are not mere mechanical practices that every Christian ought to do in order to get brownie points with God! No, they are means by which we know Him. If you open your Bible and begin to read it without the conscious expectation that it is going to tell you something about Him, you will read in vain. If you try to pray as though it were some exercise in which you chalk off fifteen minutes’ worth, mechanically going through a list, it is a valueless experience. But if you pray because you are talking with One whom you love and want to know more of, sharing with Him out of the fullness of your heart, then prayer becomes a beautiful experience. That is remaining in Him.

But that is only part of it. Jesus says, Remain in me, and I in you. There is also the other side–Let me remain in you. That has to do with empowerment, enablement. You can make choices, but you cannot fulfill them. And though you are responsible to make choices, you are not responsible for the power to carry them out. There you are to depend on Him, to let Him abide in you. You are to rest upon His ability to see you through. As you venture out on that basis, you expect Him to carry you through.

Both of these are absolutely essential. Making decisions and then trying to do the whole thing yourself is going to produce intense activity, but no results. On the other hand, letting Him take all the responsibility and making no choices at all will also produce a fruitless life. We must determine to expose ourselves to Him; we must seek His face in the Word, in prayer, and in fellowship with others. And then we must count on Him to see us through, to supply that enabling power that makes us able to love and forgive and rejoice and give thanks. When we do, we are remaining in Him and letting Him remain in us.

Father, teach me the proper balance between making hard choices to remain in You and resting in You to do in me what only You can do.

Life Application: What is the tremendous difference between our will power and our activity power – between our power to choose and our power to do?

http://www.raystedman.org/daily-devotions/john-13to17/active-and-passive
Copyright © 2007 by Elaine Stedman — This daily devotion is from the book The Power of His Presence: a year of devotions from the writings of Ray Stedman; compiled by Mark Mitchell. It may be copied for personal non-commercial use only in its entirety free of charge. All copies must contain this copyright notice and a hyperlink to http://www.RayStedman.org if the copy is posted on the Internet. Please direct any questions you may have to webmaster@RayStedman.org.


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Listening to God

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
Are You Listening to God?

 

We began today’s staff devotional with Exodus 20:19, “They said to Moses, ’You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” Do you prefer to listen to God, or to someone who teaches you about God?

Before you answer, read this devotional from Oswald Chambers . . .http://utmost.org/are-you-listening-to-god/


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7 Realities of Experiencing God

Mars Hill Staff Devotional

We took an abbreviated look at the 7 Realities of Experiencing God from the “Experiencing God” study by Blackaby and King. Our relationship and fellowship with God grows by His initiation in our lives, and by our response to His initiation. How deep do you want your fellowship in Jesus to be? It is as deep as your response level to Him.

1. God is always at work around you.
2. God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real
and personal.
3. God invites you to become involved with Him in His work.
4. God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer,
circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes,
and His ways.
5. God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a
crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
6. You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in
what He is doing.
7. You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He
accomplishes His work through you.

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To learn more about this great study, click here:  http://www.blackaby.net/expgod/


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Look Again and Think

Mars Hill Staff Devotional

Do not worry about your life . . . —Matthew 6:25

Are the cares of this world choking out the life of God in you? This morning our staff used an Oswald Chambers message to consider reasons not to worry. Very freeing!!!

A warning which needs to be repeated is that “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches,” and the lust for other things, will choke out the life of God in us (Matthew 13:22). We are never free from the recurring waves of this invasion. If the frontline of attack is not about clothes and food, it may be about money or the lack of money; or friends or lack of friends; or the line may be drawn over difficult circumstances. It is one steady invasion, and these things will come in like a flood, unless we allow the Spirit of God to raise up the banner against it.

Read more about it here:  http://utmost.org/look-again-and-think/


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Days of Heaven on Earth

Mars Hill Staff Devotinal

 

Launching from an AB Simpson devotional, we discussed what it means to “pray without ceasing” – 1 Thess 5:17. Among other things, we concluded that constant intimate communion with God requires us to get beyond a formal “religious” concept of prayer.

An important help in the life of prayer is the habit of bringing everything to God, moment by moment, as it comes to us in life. This may become a habit the same way all habits are formed: repeated and constantly attended, moment by moment, until that which is at first an act of will becomes spontaneous and second nature.

Read a bit more here: http://www.cmalliance.org/devotions/simpson?mmdd=0121


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Let God Be God

Mars Hill Staff Devotional

 

Most of the struggle of life comes from our wanting to play God ourselves – wanting to be in charge of what happens to us. Today we looked at the words of the Searcher from Ecclesiastes 3:12-22.

I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him (Ecclesiastes 3:14).

How different this picture of life under the sovereign lordship of a living God is from what most people think God is like! A popular book for Christians on the topic of sex explains the truth that God has designed sex for pleasure. But it is not merely sex that is designed for pleasure; all things are designed for human pleasure. If you think a certain thing in and of itself is going to produce lasting pleasure, however, you will miss it. The secret is that it is the knowledge of God in that relationship that produces enjoyment. We are not in the grasp of the Great Cosmic Joy Killer, as many people seem to view God. God delights in human enjoyment.

The Searcher says that all enjoyment must be discovered by realizing that God is in charge, and He will not bend His plan for anyone. God has sovereignly, independently, set up the plan of life in a way with which we cannot interfere. He has done so in order that people should revere Him.

All through the Bible we read, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Until a person recognizes and trusts the superior wisdom of God, he or she has not begun to fear God. This fear is not abject terror of God; it is respect and honor for Him. If you attempt to live your life without the recognition of God, ultimately you will find yourself, as the Searcher found himself; empty, dissatisfied, and restless, feeling that life is miserable and meaningless. The secret of life is the presence of God Himself.

Most of the struggle of life comes from our wanting to play God ourselves, wanting to be in charge of what happens to us. That is true even of Christians. When God refuses to go along, we sulk and pout and get angry with Him. We throw away our faith and say, What’s the use? I tried it, but it doesn’t work. What a foolish statement! God will not surrender His prerogatives. Nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it—God has made it so in order that men should revere him.

Lord, forgive me for thinking I know what is best for those I love and me. Teach me to trust in Your work, because I know that nothing can be added to it.

Life Application: God has sovereignly, independently, set up the plan of life in a way with which we cannot interfere. Why has He done this and what is the secret of life?

Copyright © 2007 by Elaine Stedman — This daily devotion is from the book The Power of His Presence: a year of devotions from the writings of Ray Stedman; compiled by Mark Mitchell. It may be copied for personal non-commercial use only in its entirety free of charge. All copies must contain this copyright notice and a hyperlink to www.RayStedman.org if the copy is posted on the Internet. Please direct any questions you may have to webmaster@RayStedman.org.

http://www.raystedman.org/daily-devotions/ecclesiastes/let-god-be-god


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Test of Faithfulness

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
The Test of Faithfulness
from Oswald Chambers

 

As Christians do we really see Christ as our Lord and our life…or do we see him as just another worker? An equal co-laborer?

We know that all things work together for good to those who love God . . . —Romans 8:28

Key Take-away: The goal of faithfulness is not that we will do work for God, but that we will be free to let Him do His work through us.

from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest: http://utmost.org/test-of-faithfulness/


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Thanksgiving

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving
by Ray Stedman

Our time was filled with great questions and comments about cultivating a thankful heart and maintaining an attitude of gratitude.

Key take-away: “Thanksgiving should be the proper expression of Christianity, because Christianity is really about receiving something from God constantly! (i.e. – life, the fruit of the spirit, the love of God, spiritual blessings in heavenly places, etc.).”

Read the Scripture: Psalm 50

Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High. (Psalm 50:14).

What does God want from us? He does not want mere hymn singing, although that is fine. Nor does He want only prayer, although that too is fine. He does not simply want our attendance, although that is fine. What He wants, first, is a thankful heart. That is what He seeks, a thankful heart. Each one of us is to offer to Him the sacrifice of thanksgiving. A sacrifice is something into which we put effort; it costs us. Have you ever asked yourself why the Scriptures stress thanksgiving so much? Both the Old and New Testaments emphasize that above everything else, God wants thankfulness. Give thanks in all circumstances, says the apostle Paul, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Why is this? It is because thanksgiving only comes as a result of having received something. You do not give thanks until you have received something that comes from someone else. Therefore thanksgiving is the proper expression of Christianity, because Christianity is receiving something constantly from God.

Of course if you have not received anything from God, then you have nothing to thank Him for. Though you come to the service, you really have nothing to say. God is a realist. He does not want fake thanksgiving. I know there are certain people (and they are awfully hard to live with) who think that Christianity consists of pretending to be thankful. They think it means screwing a smile on your face and going around pretending that troubles do not bother you. That is a most painful form of Christianity. God does not want you to go around shouting, Hallelujah! I’ve got cancer! But there is something about having cancer to be thankful for. That is what He wants you to see. There are aspects of it that no one can possibly enjoy, but there are other aspects that reveal purpose, meaning, and reason. God wants you to see this–what He can do with that situation and how you can be thankful. Thanksgiving is the first thing He wants in worship.

The second thing is an obedient will. Fulfill your vows to the Most High. Notice the kind of obedience it is. It is not something forced upon you; it is something you have chosen for yourself. A vow is something you decide to give, a promise you make because of truth you have seen. You say, I never saw it like that before. I really ought to do something about it. God helping me, I’m going to do such and such. That is a vow. God says, I’m not asking you to do things you have not yet learned are important. But when you have vowed something, then do it. Act on it. Obey it.

Lord, I offer to You right now the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Thank You that You are at work for good both in me and through me. Grant that I might obey your truth out of a heart of gratitude.

Life Application: We can expend much energy complaining, blessing no one. How can we re-focus our thoughts so that we have an attitude of gratitude no matter our circumstances?

Copyright © 2007 by Elaine Stedman — This daily devotion is from the book The Power of His Presence: a year of devotions from the writings of Ray Stedman; compiled by Mark Mitchell. It may be copied for personal non-commercial use only in its entirety free of charge. All copies must contain this copyright notice and a hyperlink to http://www.RayStedman.org if the copy is posted on the Internet. Please direct any questions you may have to webmaster@RayStedman.org.

http://www.raystedman.org/daily-devotions/psalms/the-sacrifice-of-thanksgiving


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The Greater Work

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
The Key of The Greater Work
by Oswald Chambers

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:12-13 (NASB)

Have you ever had the thought, “I am of no use where I am?” This devotional takes us to task on the truth of where our real responsibility and power comes from.

Prayer does not equip us for greater works – prayer is the greater work.

For more, read this from Oswald Chambers: http://utmost.org/the-key-of-the-greater-work/